Monday, July 16, 2012

Delegation of Authority/Empowerment

Stephen Covey gives us the following five guidelines to follow in order to successfully delegate responsibility to those who work for us:

1. Clear Desired Results - a mutual understanding and agreement upon the endstate helps both parties involved focus not on what, not how; on results, not methods.

2. Guidelines - these should be as few as possible and should be drawn from our values, principles and failure points previously experienced; pitfalls to avoid should be shared

3. Resources - time, land, money, personnel required and provided not provided

4. Accountability - the standards by which success is measured, the times a review of progress is made

5. Consequences - the good and the bad ones from success or failure

What is the Node of Failure in Feeding the Masses?

In John 6:1-15, Jesus feeds 5,000 people with one boy's lunch.

Jesus challenges Philip, by asking him, “Where are we to buy bread, so that these people may eat?”  John records that Jesus says this to test Philip, for Jesus already knew what he was going to do.

Keeping in mind that Jesus must have been taking every opportunity to train his men to carry on his mission after his departure, is there some key lesson that Jesus was teaching Philip and the rest of his disciples that is applicable to us today?

The need of the hour is 5,000 people who need food.  There is no way that the 12 were going to find a way to feed them.  They wouldn't have had enough money, and even if they did there was no place to buy it.  

What is the need of the hour today in my life?  In my family, battalion, workplace, school, what remains the significant need of the hour?  

Jesus later in the chapter tells his disciples that he is the bread of life.  The masses miss the spiritual meaning of this teaching, but the disciples seem to understand.  The disciples, having recently seen the feeding of the 5,000 know that not only does Jesus provide enough to meet our physical needs, but that Jesus himself, is sufficient for the spiritual hunger of the whole world.  

But back in the parable, what is the critical point of failure?  It is not Jesus, because he provides all the bread they need.  It is not the hungry masses, because they are all there.  Might it not be the 12 themselves, who Jesus relied upon to take the bread from Jesus to the hungry?  

Inside the circles of influence in which Christ has placed us, the critical node through which Jesus has chosen to feed the masses is me.  You.  All of us who are committed disciples.  Only we can share from the baskets the Bread of Life with those around us who are hungry.

When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.”
(Matthew 9:36-38 ESV)

Monday, July 02, 2012

Jesus' Men

Matthew 10: Jesus called 12 ordinary  men: fishermen, a tax-collector, a zealot, most seemingly average.  What characteristics distinguished these men from their peers?  They all had loyalty to Jesus.  They forsook everything to follow him: family, career, hometowns.  Years before, God told the prophet Samuel, that God looks past men's outward appearance to men's hearts. 

Jesus did not call a member of the priestly cast, a Roman Legionnaire, a scribe or a lawyer.  He completely bypassed the members of Israel's most devout sect.  He chose 12 men, ordinary  men, whose extraordinary devotion to Jesus and the mission he had given to them changed the world within a few generations.

We are all here because of these men.  If these 12 had failed, what other alternative did Christ have?

Jesus did not command us to plant churches.  He did not tell us to start Bible studies.  He told us to make disciples.  By concentrating on the men and women that God brings into our lives who are most loyal to Jesus, can we replicate the actions and methods of Jesus today?